I admire him (Benjamin Franklin). I admire his sturdy courage first of all, then his sagacity, then his glimpsing into the thunders of electricity, then his common-sense humour. All the qualities of a great man, and never more than a great citizen. Middle-sized, sturdy, snuff-coloured Doctor Franklin, one of the soundest citizens that ever trod or 'used venery'.
I do not like him.
And, by the way, I always thought books of Venery were about hunting deer....
I am a moral animal. But I am not a moral machine. I don't work with a little set of handles or levers. The Temperance- silence-order- resolution-frugality-industry-sincerity - justice- moderation-cleanliness-tranquillity-chastity-humility keyboard is not going to get me going. I'm really not just an automatic piano with a moral Benjamin getting tunes out of me.
Here's my creed, against Benjamin's. This is what I believe:'That I am I.' 'That my soul is a dark forest.' 'That my known self will never be more thana little clearing in the forest.' 'That gods, strange gods, come forth from the forest into the clearing of my known self, and then go back.' 'That I must have the courage to let them come and go.' 'That I will never let mankind put anything over me, but that I will try always to recognize and submit to the gods in me and the gods in other men and women.'
There is my creed. He who runs may read. He who prefers to crawl, or to go by gasoline, can call it rot.